Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

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What should I do?

Take Hamilton/Ruby and attend law school.
29
46%
Stay in current industry.
34
54%
 
Total votes: 63

CrazyBull2013
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Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby CrazyBull2013 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:47 pm

Hey there TLS! I'm having trouble making this decision on my own and was hoping for some advice. I am a recent college graduate fortunate enough to receive a Hamilton/Ruby full-tuition scholarship offer at Columbia/Chicago. Attending law school has always been my plan since high school, but after browsing these forums (particularly this recent thread) and speaking with some practicing attorneys, I'm starting to second guess becoming a lawyer.

I have a few job offers in my industry (which I have really enjoyed so far) centered around $60k. If i went this route, I know I could get raises quickly due to guaranteed salary increases for passing exams. If I became a lawyer, I anticipate working in biglaw for as little time as possible before moving in-house. Thus, I would see my pre-tax income, without bonuses, looking something like the following:

Year 1: Current Industry $60,000; Law $0
Year 2: Current Industry $70,000; Law $0
Year 3: Current Industry $75,000; Law $0
Year 4: Current Industry $80,000; Law $160,000
Year 5: Current Industry $85,000; Law $170,000
Year 6: Current Industry $90,000; Law $185,000
Year 7: Current Industry $95,000; Law $???

Over a 6 year span, I would make $55,000 more in law before taxes, and I assume the discrepancy would be lower after taxes. A big question mark here is what I would make as a lawyer after leaving a firm.

But obviously, money isn't everything. In my current industry, I would generally work 45 hour weeks and never on weekends. I know this is a HUGE edge over being an attorney. I also enjoy the work I am doing and am really not sure if I would enjoy my work as an attorney. The only downside to staying in my current industry is that based on my offers right now, I would not be able to work in my city of choice, but I would be able to work there as an attorney.

I am leaning pretty heavily towards staying in my current industry. I know I have a great opportunity with the Hamilton/Ruby, so am I crazy to pass that up? Also, I know people on TLS say "law school will always be there..." but for me I really do not think this is the case. I have already accepted my Hamilton/Ruby offer, so informing the school that I will not actually be attending would likely prevent me from getting the scholarship again in the future. It seems I have ideal conditions to attend law school right now, so I'm sticking with a "now or never" mentality.

I would really appreciate any insight you guys might have. TLS has already been a great resource for LSAT prep and law school apps, so I hope I can get some good feedback regarding my decision. Thanks!

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Bronck
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby Bronck » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:54 pm

CrazyBull2013 wrote:In my current industry, I would generally work 45 hour weeks and never on weekends. I know this is a HUGE edge over being an attorney. I also enjoy the work I am doing and am really not sure if I would enjoy my work as an attorney. The only downside to staying in my current industry is that based on my offers right now, I would not be able to work in my city of choice, but I would be able to work there as an attorney.


This paragraph was the key for me. Although a Ruby/Hamilton is a great deal, this makes me say stick with your current industry (especially the bold).

Would you be able to transfer to your city of choice in the future? Being able to work there as an attorney isn't a good enough reason to go to law school, especially when you're not even sure you want to practice law.

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TheThriller
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby TheThriller » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:05 pm

/humblebrag

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:06 pm

Why on earth would you go to law school if you like your career and don't anticipate liking the practice of law?

005618502
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby 005618502 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:06 pm

This is a tough decision. If it was me I would take the free ride to the #4 school, but that is because this is the profession I want. If you actually enjoy your job, look forward to working, I wouldnt leave. That is still good money (where are you currently located? $80,000 is a lot better in Texas than NYC). I think doing something you enjoy is key, but yes, you will make more money as a lawyer because even after you leave biglaw, you will likely make over 6 figures. I doubt going in-house pays less than 6 figures, would be hard to attract ex-biglaw attorneys if the pay was toooooo low

whereskyle
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby whereskyle » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:10 pm

AssumptionRequired wrote:This is a tough decision. If it was me I would take the free ride to the #4 school, but that is because this is the profession I want. If you actually enjoy your job, look forward to working, I wouldnt leave. That is still good money (where are you currently located? $80,000 is a lot better in Texas than NYC). I think doing something you enjoy is key, but yes, you will make more money as a lawyer because even after you leave biglaw, you will likely make over 6 figures. I doubt going in-house pays less than 6 figures, would be hard to attract ex-biglaw attorneys if the pay was toooooo low


Spend some time deciding if you want to be a lawyer. You didn't say much about wanting to be a lawyer.

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Micdiddy
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby Micdiddy » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:15 pm

OP says he enjoys his job now, but clearly if he took the LSAT, applied to all these schools, etc. he is looking for a way out or not completely satisfied.
I think an important question is how likely you are to be able to return to this field if either you hate being a lawyer or cannot find work. That way you can take a free ride, graduate debt free, and pursue your lawyer dreams, and not lose out on a whole lot if it doesn't work.
But seriously, if a Hamilton/Ruby candidate has doubts about law school, I'm totally screwed.

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sinfiery
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby sinfiery » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:26 pm

The very first question is always is this worth doing?

Financially, there isn't much information about law school after biglaw. If you take into account COL, you'd either break even or lose out depending on hammy/ruby after 3 years.

In your situation, your options both in law and outside of law dictate that if you are willing to be an X, you should financially take either route without hesitation.

That's all we can tell you. Only you can decide what you are more willing to be.

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pacifica
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby pacifica » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:28 pm

Micdiddy wrote:OP says he enjoys his job now, but clearly if he took the LSAT, applied to all these schools, etc. he is looking for a way out or not completely satisfied.
I think an important question is how likely you are to be able to return to this field if either you hate being a lawyer or cannot find work. That way you can take a free ride, graduate debt free, and pursue your lawyer dreams, and not lose out on a whole lot if it doesn't work.


This. OP considered the opportunities to return to law school later, but should think about the flip side of the coin too. I'm in a similar situation, in the sense that I'm not extremely familiar with what law entails going in, but I feel comfortable knowing I've built up enough street cred in my current field that I can return when I want. Maybe a recent college graduate didn't have that time yet to build up that backup route?

In a somewhat unrelated note, Ruby will be gone after this year I believe, regardless of what you decide. If you're good enough to get a Hamilton, there's definitely other full ride options (i.e. Vanderbilt @ NYU, Levy @ Penn, Dean's Scholly at Berk, UVA, Darrow @ Michigan etc.) you can pursue at schools you haven't pissed off (IF they remember you after a few years of working); even if they're not #4s, I wouldn't completely rule out the "return to law school later" route as a middle ground to carve out a nice safety net before venturing into law.

WahooLaw24
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby WahooLaw24 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:31 pm

I voted for staying in your current industry. The idea of being able to make nearly 6 figures working a 9-5 job in your early/mid 30's (assuming you're not older) sounds like a pretty good deal, especially since you enjoy the work.

It also seemed from your OP like you were making this decision based on the assumption you'd land Biglaw out of either school. While that is a decent bet, only about 50-60% of each class has been getting those jobs in recent years. Whether a decent sized chunk of students aren't going for Biglaw, I'm not really the person to ask. I'm also not sure if receiving one of those scholarships could help your chances in some way.

In general, taking the Ruby/Hamilton is a great and safe decision, and if you go that way best of luck. I personally would just stick with what you're doing.

NYstate
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby NYstate » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:47 pm

OP why would you go to law school? You will never get back to the lifestyle you describe.

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star fox
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby star fox » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:47 pm

If I were you I'd probably work a few years and then re-assess. I'd kill to have your career opportunities right now. If you still want to go to Law School in a few years maybe consider going part-time so you're not giving up work (I don't know if this would eliminate the scholarships or what though.. maybe someone more in the know can help you out there) incase you find you hate law.

EdgarWinter
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby EdgarWinter » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:57 pm

I don't think OP should worry about not landing biglaw. If he doesn't totally slack off during 1L I'm sure he'd be fine. Whether or not he'd enjoy law as compared to his current work is a better question.

I second the location matters crowd. $95k in San Antonio for 9-5 might be a lot better than Biglaw in NYC. On the other hand if he's in NYC already and it's the Ruby and not the Hammy (ie ties to much-cheaper Chicago) then perhaps the finances weigh more heavily towards law.

I'd also think about the long-run: if your current job is the type of thing that you could do for 20 years with some security, well, that would be an advantage over the uncertainties of biglaw.

Anyway GL OP. Sorry we can't be more helpful.

20141023
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby 20141023 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:57 pm

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Last edited by 20141023 on Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JWalker
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby JWalker » Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:01 pm

Columbia and Chicago are nice, but did you apply to Penn?

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ColeWorld
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby ColeWorld » Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:06 pm

Just wanted to let everyone know the OP got banned for alting. He wanted to protect his identity since his normal TLS account is pretty revealing, but it didn't look like anonymous posting was available in this section of the board. Luckily, I happen to be extremely good friends with the OP and will be speaking on his behalf from now on. We're so close that I might even refer to the OP as myself at times.

Now to answer some questions on here:

I'm really not sure if I'll like practicing law, and I don't know how anyone can be sure of that before law school. The idea of transactional law seems appealing to me, but from what I've heard, the day-to-day is pretty boring.

Some of the $60,000 offers I have are in smaller cities with lower COL than NYC, Chicago, etc.

For those wondering why I took the LSAT and applied to law school in the first place: I did all of that while I was still in undergrad. Throughout undergrad, I had been planning on pursuing a career in law and kind of randomly selected my major and ended up enjoying it.

One of the things I'm really uncertain about are the years after biglaw. I have heard a lot of good things about in-house positions that offer pay, benefits, and stock options I don't see myself getting in my current industry. Also, the hours and levels of stress seem to be much lower than biglaw. However, as someone mentioned earlier, I can't necessarily count on getting biglaw, and I definitely don't think I could count on getting a great in-house job.

Also, most of the people commenting seem to be in favor of staying in my current industry, but the poll is split evenly. I'm hoping some pro law school people will voice their opinions.

Thank you all for the advice so far. Hopefully this can help me get a clearer idea of what I want to do.
Last edited by ColeWorld on Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

WahooLaw24
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby WahooLaw24 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:10 pm

[quote="EdgarWinter"]I don't think OP should worry about not landing biglaw. If he doesn't totally slack off during 1L I'm sure he'd be fine. quote]

As good as those 2 schools are, this seems like incredibly poor advice.

Ti Malice
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby Ti Malice » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:29 pm

CrazyBull2013 wrote:But obviously, money isn't everything. In my current industry, I would generally work 45 hour weeks and never on weekends. I know this is a HUGE edge over being an attorney. I also enjoy the work I am doing and am really not sure if I would enjoy my work as an attorney. The only downside to staying in my current industry is that based on my offers right now, I would not be able to work in my city of choice, but I would be able to work there as an attorney.


Based on what you say here, I think you should stick with work in your current industry.

20141023
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby 20141023 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:36 pm

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Last edited by 20141023 on Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

wannabelawstudent
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby wannabelawstudent » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:37 pm

TheThriller wrote:/humblebrag

WahooLaw24
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby WahooLaw24 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:48 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:
WahooLaw24 wrote:
EdgarWinter wrote:I don't think OP should worry about not landing biglaw. If he doesn't totally slack off during 1L I'm sure he'd be fine.

As good as those 2 schools are, this seems like incredibly poor advice.

Why? If he isn't in debt, then there isn't the need to get into biglaw. Of course, being in the bottom of his class probably isn't a good idea, but EdgarWinter stated that as long as he doesn't slack off he should be "fine." As far as I'm concerned, "fine" in this sense means "not debt-pwned."


That's fair, if you read it like that then I agree. My original point was that OP was on the fence about this decision and was assuming Biglaw, so I thought it was important to point out that Biglaw is only slightly better than a coinflip at these schools.

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Bronck
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby Bronck » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:53 pm

WahooLaw24 wrote:That's fair, if you read it like that then I agree. My original point was that OP was on the fence about this decision and was assuming Biglaw, so I thought it was important to point out that Biglaw is only slightly better than a coinflip at these schools.


Only slight better than a coinflip? It's by no means guaranteed, and no one should be complacent about it, but it looks like anywhere from 80-85% of OCI/EIP/EIW participants at CCN are getting offers the past couple years.

NYstate
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby NYstate » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:56 pm

If OP doesn't do biglaw, what job is he going for then? That bimodal distribution is a problem. OP made his calculation based in part on getting a biglaw salary. If his salary is the same or lower in law- and he isn't expressing his love of the law beyond some vague idea of being a lawyer- why would he go??

Ti Malice
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby Ti Malice » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:57 pm

wannabelawstudent wrote:
TheThriller wrote:/humblebrag


Meh, not really. Dude has a legitimate dilemma.

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ColeWorld
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Re: Have Hamilton/Ruby. Should I go to law school?

Postby ColeWorld » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:06 pm

NYstate wrote:If OP doesn't do biglaw, what job is he going for then? That bimodal distribution is a problem. OP made his calculation based in part on getting a biglaw salary. If his salary is the same or lower in law- and he isn't expressing his love of the law beyond some vague idea of being a lawyer- why would he go??


Speaking on behalf of OP here:

I did assume biglaw for my calculation. I was basing this on the 80-85% of students who participate in OCI that I've been hearing lately, though I do realize that's not 100%. Also these scholarships don't seem to have much of an effect on employment, but they can't hurt, plus I have ties to my target market which is in the city of the school I would attend. Still, if I want to look at true expected income, I would have to adjust by the probability of not getting biglaw.

Also, if I do attend law school, it would be possible but more difficult than now to get a job in my current industry after pursuing law for a few years.




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